Chapter 5: Prepare Your Mind…and Your Bank Account
Prepare your mind
How can you mentally prepare yourself to attend a bootcamp? It’s important to understand that a key to success will be your ability to be highly self-aware. Strengthening your skills here will pay off during the highs and lows of your learning adventure.
Are you self-aware now? Good. Next, consider writing down why you are attending this bootcamp. Keep this piece of paper handy and check-in on it weekly, even if things are going well. Keeping your goals front and center during your bootcamp experience is going to serve you well when things get tough. And we promise they’ll get tough. Checking in on your macro view will keep everything in perspective.
Become familiar with how you learn and solve problems. More importantly, get to know learning and problem-solving processes that don’t work. This’ll keep you from bangin’ your head against the desk when you’re trying to learn something in a way that doesn’t work for you.
A note on that though: you’re going to be bangin’ your head on your desk from time to time. That’s by design. The learning process is different in a bootcamp: you’re supposed to feel overwhelmed and screw things up. That’s part of the real-world learning process you’re going to go through as a developer. Bonus: that’s how the most impactful learning happens. Be ready for it, and know that it’s part of the process. You’re supposed to feel that way—until you don’t.
Find a healthy outlet for your stress. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and let go of your ego. You will run into difficult situations. Use them as learning opportunities and persevere. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to utilize the resources that you’re given.
Prepare your bank account
We told you that bootcamps are gonna save you buckets of money compared to traditional four-year programs. That’s true. Here’s another truth: most normal people don’t have $15k or more lying in their mattress.
Most Most bootcamps offer some form of payment plan for students. However, since the student loan industry hasn’t quite caught up, in many cases these plans are financed directly through the bootcamp. Since bootcamps aren’t built to be lending institutions, their accountants make nasty faces and throw tantrums if they try to offer extended payment plans. So usually these plans need to be paid off in two years or less, which means you’ll need to be making monthly payments that rival a rent/mortgage payment.
To make things more challenging, you’re not going to be able to hold a job (even part-time) while you’re in a full-time bootcamp. If you can, you’re either a superhero (if you are, please call us because we’re hiring superheros) or your bootcamp isn’t properly preparing you for the job market.
Some good news: we’re seeing a few financing companies jump into the game and you should have some new options to finance your tuition very soon. Stay tuned.
If you can’t extract 15,000+ little portraits of George Washington from your bank account, there are other ways to pay for a bootcamp. Mix and match for maximum effectiveness:
- Scholarships: Many bootcamps have some sort of scholarship available if you are a woman, an underrepresented minority in the software industry, or a US Armed Forces veteran. Some bootcamps also offer various scholarship opportunities for everything from coding challenges to writing contests. If you win, you could attend a bootcamp at a large discount or even for free.
- Raise Money: Crowdfunding is a great resource thanks to sites like Kickstarter. Ask your family and friends if they can help (whether it’s through a donation or a loan). There are also other private loan options available beyond traditional bank loans.
- Ask Your Employer: If programming is related to your current job and you enjoy where you work, see if your employer will invest in your continued education. Pitch it by pointing out the benefits for the company and the value you’ll add if you could add programming skills to your resume. If you can, build something tangible for your boss so that they can see usefulness of your programming skills.
- Credit Cards: You do have the option to cover the cost with the aid of credit cards depending on your credit limit. This can get dangerous if you’re unable to make the payments on time and can hurt your credit score, so be careful if you decide to go this route. We wouldn’t recommend it as a primary way to finance tuition, but if you’ve got most of the money together, this can be an option to close the gap.